Many members of the media couldn't see the iPad's purpose. In the three-month period between its introduction and release, there was a lot of digital ink spilled over how the iPad would be a flop of such proportions not even Steve's Reality Distortion Field could save it. It was branded as restricted by some, ridiculous by others, and few people saw much in the way of real value.
But it was wrong to judge the iPad as an oversized iPhone. As we got to know Apple's tablet it began to fill the space between our iPhones and laptops. We used it to read in bed, to watch movies on the train, or draw while at the beach. It did things we couldn't possible do on our iPhone and let us leave our bulky laptops on our desks. In short, it solved problems we didn't realize we had, at home and even at work. And now we can't live without it.
That's the difference between good products and great ones--not what they do but what they have the potential to do. When Apple released the iPod it was famously criticized, but before long it had transformed the way we listen to music, all but eliminating physical media and paving the way for a virtually unlimited online storage locker that lets us carry tens of thousands of songs with us wherever we go.
The people who just saw a $400 music player didn't get all of that. And now with Apple Watch, history seems to be repeating itself. Even if you take away the criticism of the exorbitant Edition, plenty of critics fail to see Apple Watch's purpose. But just like the iPod or iPad, they're missing the potential. When I strap an Apple Watch on my wrist, it's not going to magically solve anything, but like the iPhone and iPad before it, there's no telling how it'll change my life once it starts to seriously work itself into my routine.
The Apple Watch standard
You might not think reaching for your iPhone a couple dozen times a day is a problem that needs solving, but before the iPod, we didn't have an issue with carrying binders full of CDs, either. We were content to fill our pockets and bags with cameras, flashlights, notebooks, and all sorts of cumbersome gear before the iPhone came along. And before the iPad, dragging our MacBooks from room to room just to surf the web was considered the pinnacle of convenience.
These things might not have been problems at the time, but Apple handed us solutions anyway. And now we can't live any other way. Apple Watch's unique system of glances and notifications has the potential to do the same; based on what Apple has chosen to highlight in the introductory videos released late last week, its "most personal device" is designed to be used for seconds, not minutes, at a time. The best apps will relay important bits of information without us even needing to touch our wrists.
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